Yes it’s quantifiable, and yes she exists.
Two recent articles by The Guardian have shed light on the Global Teacher Prize held in Dubai earlier this year. Andria Zarfirakou was the recipient, an art teacher from Brent, North London. As well as having the enviable title of The Best Teacher in the World, Andria also won $1 million in prize money.
Set for life on easy street, though, she is not. Instead of month-long holidays and a new gated property, she decided to invest it all into a campaigning charity to more artists into schools and to raise the profile of the arts in general within education. Artists in Residence, as it is known, will also be based in the Alperton Community School in Brent, where she has taught for the past 12 years.
To some of us this might seem like a strange way to spend one million dollars, The Best Teacher in the World, though, wouldn’t think anything of it. In fact I’d go as far as to say if something wasn’t done that was at least similar to this she possibly wouldn’t have won.
Not to sound too much like a government-sponsored advert but teaching is a profession with proper meaning, and to do it well one must be charitable. Providing a service is exceptionally fulfilling in any capacity but being a teacher means you have a duty of care and of passion.
It was unlikely The Best Teacher in the World was going to be lukewarm about her profession. Awards like this are necessary because it sets a bar to aim for. It allows professions to have champions to mimic. Also because when you are as brilliant as Andria Zarfirakou is, it’s important that you feel recognised and appreciated.
Mainly though, stunning acts of altruism like these are simply nice to read about.